Monday, September 5, 2011

Nymwars and Monoculture

monocultureI posted a dozen tweets yesterday with quotes related to name and identity. My intention was to break out of the rut that has framed those multidimensional topics inside the corporate-vs-consumer duality of the Nymwars debate. It's not surprising that most of those conversations have been focused on the low end of the Maslow hierarchy. Both Google and the pseudonymous communities feel as if they are fighting for the future of their virtual lives. So it makes sense that arguments tend to center around issues of security and commerce.

But an even more fundamental cause of the constrained conversational scope is the invisible force of our modern monoculture:
In our time, in the early decades of the 21st century, the monoculture isn’t about science, machines and mathematics, or about religion and superstition. In our time, the monoculture is economic F. S. Michaels
The opinions we hold about these issues are based upon a fundamental worldview that has been instilled by a Mother Culture still rooted in the Industrial Age. Although organizations calling for an end to traditional privacy expectations see themselves as the vanguard for an emerging Digital Age, they are actually reactionary throwbacks to the robber barrons of the 19th Century and are seeking control of all aspects of the digital economy. I hope to explore more of these underlying dynamics here over the next few weeks. For today, I'll leave you with yesterday's quotes:

  • When they say "Be yourself", which self do they mean?  -Rob Brezsn
  • A simple separate person is not contained between his hat and his boots. -Walt Whitman
  • The real meditation is... the meditation on one's identity. -Ezra Pound
  • An identity is questioned only when it is menaced James Baldwin
  • A name represents identity, a deep feeling and holds tremendous significance to its owner.” -Rachel Ingber
  • I reserve my right to be complex. -Leslie Feinberg
  • Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe? -Scott Turow
  • Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be. -Orson Scott Card
  • I've tried to become someone else for a while, only to discover that he, too, was me. -Stephen Dunn
  • A self-made man may prefer a self-made name.  -Learned Hand
  • The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers. -Marshall McLuhan
  • Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.  -Jose Saramago

1 comment:

Dirk said...

That which makes us who we are is so far beyond definition as to be absurd for one to try. In day to day life, we find so many people and organizations that want to stuff into a pigeon hole to make us easier to classify. None of those holes fit our totality; each of those holes may resemble a single facet of who we are.

I do not present myself the same way to my son as I do to my father. Nor, do I do so to my best friend as I do to a beggar on the street. Why should a corporate entity have the right to choose which me is "the real me"?

I have friends who would be killed for their beliefs if their governments knew what they were saying. I have other friends who might be killed if their abusive former spouses knew where they were. These people, too, have chosen to be freed by the ability to speak under a different guise, not as hiding the truth, but as a new avenue to bring their truths to the light of day.